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Flying the Anarcho Punk Flag

“1977 THE YEAR THAT CHANGED MY LIFE!” Screams frontman Andy H of the furious and chaotic Surgery Without Research, flying the anarcho punk flag proudly, 40 years on! Many of you will already know about Surgery Without Research, judging by the crowd they pulled at Rebellion. Founded by Andy, they put out their first cassette album ‘Gun Logic’ in 2002. The line-up has changed over time but now with Mark Spooner on guitar, Dave Booker on Bass and Nathan Antino on drums, they’ve really hit their stride. Mark told Way Out Radio how the line-up came together: “I joined in 2016 after answering an ad on Facebook. I was sat on the toilet at the time. They said yes. I walked straight into the recording sessions of our album ‘Grievance’ and a gig with 999 – a baptism by fire! Then bass player left so Andy recruited Dave.”

The four-piece from Kent have gathered a huge following over the past few years and after their set at this year’s Rebellion Festival there was a swarm surrounding their merch stand for over an hour. Keeping in with the anarcho punk ethos, this band are fully DIY, selling their albums and t-shirt at cost and hand making a lot of their CDs. “Yeah things really seem to be starting to happen for us and our hardcore of followers do seem to be growing in numbers which is fantastic. Everything we put out is 100% DIY and I think the people who are into us really appreciate what goes into the band and it’s as much their enthusiasm that creates that buzz. We give every gig 100%.” Dave told Way Out Radio.

Mark spoke about some of the band’s influences: “For me, hearing the Sex Pistols for the first time in 1977 changed my life, Steve Jones’ guitar sound was my light-bulb moment. From there I discovered the Clash whose lyrics captivated me and then a school friend gave me a vinyl copy of ‘Stations of the Crass’ along with the words “this is absolutely horrible, you’ll probably love it”. Dave added: “I’ve been into Punk since I was 11. The first wave: Pistols, Clash, Damned, Ramones, X-Ray Spex, just blew me away. Then the anarcho scene sparked a lot of my political activism; anti-hunt, anti-vivisection and things like the ‘Stop The City’ marches. Crass, Conflict, Flux Of Pink Indian, Subhumans.

            Like those activist bands Surgery Without Research are extremely outspoken and politically charged. Dave told Way Out Radio more about their political stance: “I can’t speak for all the band but you only have to listen to the songs to get a very good idea of what angers us. Songs against abuse, war, religion, oppression, hatred, racism, etc. If we believe something is wrong we’ll write a song about it. Personally I’ve always been on the left politically and I think the UK is a mess. Run by the elite for the elite. Bigotry and racism seem to have increased since the Brexit vote. It seems to somehow have given a green light to ar**holes to spout their bile wherever and whenever they want.” Mark gave his view: “Personally, I discovered Crass in 1979 so that should give you an idea of how I roll politically. Through that facet of punk I became motivated to question everything I was being told and shown. Distraction of thought is rife and while the public’s eyes are off the ball the rot creeps back in…”

With thirteen albums and counting, Surgery Without Research are an unstoppable force of punk activity. They told us about their upcoming projects: “We’ve just released a new EP, ‘Thugs In Blue’ on CD and this is out on beat you black ‘n’ blue vinyl. We’re getting cracking on the new album plus we plan to release a singles album with Punkaram Records next year. We may also bring out the Rebellion set on CD/DVD as we’ve got a really good recording my mate Glenn did.” Dave told us. Mark concluded: “In the midst of all of that we are gonna be travelling up and down the UK playing live… Who needs sleep, I’ll sleep when I’m dead…”

Available now: ‘Thugs In Blue’

Sounds Like: Conflict, Subhumans, Sick on the Bus

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